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Attention bullies: People with Tourette are NOT different

My name is Ashley Craig, I am 15 years old and I live in New Jersey. The past two years have been very busy for me. From May of my eighth-grade year to now I have been dreaming up, designing, implementing and facilitating my own anti-bullying campaign.

My campaign, also known as S.A.B.B. – Students Against Being Bullied – consists of three phases:

  1. Student Involvement
  2. Spreading Awareness
  3. Parent Involvement

Student Involvement includes two text lines, bi-monthly afterschool meetings and safe rooms. Spreading Awareness consists of spreading the word. In this phase, I also have designed systems to help further inform repeat offenders that their actions no longer will be tolerated and systems to help victims cope while putting more eyes on the situation.

I started this because in seventh grade I was bullied by five older boys. The tormenting went on for about four months before I couldn’t take it anymore, and during the summer before my eighth grade year, I started to think of what I could do to make a difference. But it wasn’t until May 2010 that I really started dreaming up S.A.B.B.

Ashley Craig, 15, is the founder of the S.A.B.B. (Studets Against Being Bullied) movement.

One day, a close friend of mine came to me and said out of the blue, “Ashley, I’m going to end it”. I said, “End what?” and my heart sank at his response: “Ashley, I’m going to end my life.” I wasn’t going to let him go one more second without getting him help, so I went to the guidance counselor and confided in her what he had confided in me.

My friend was very angry for a while, but a few days later, he came to me in the hallway, and gave me a big hug and said, “Ashley, you saved my life.” And that is when I knew that if I could help one that I could save a lot more by lending a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, a safe person to talk to.

And that’s when S.A.B.B. was officially born. I came into High Point Regional High School and worked hand-in-hand with the staff and administration and got the entire program up and running in a matter of seven months.

It was said to be the fastest program to ever be approved and put in. So far, the S.A.B.B. operation has been up and running for nine months. and the administration at my high school say this program is an extreme success.

We have also been spreading it to different high schools and middle schools across the county and have even had students from different states ask for the program. People and families of people with Tourette Syndrome should support S.A.B.B. because of the increase in violence and extent of the bullying, intimidation and harassment that occur in our world today.

Bullies target people who are so-called “different,” and that is a wide variety of people. I am considered different because I stand against bullying. My friends are different because they hang out with me. And sadly, because people Tourette Syndrome have this horrible disorder that no one can control, a bully looks at them as if they are “different.”

But if you are reading this right now, know that YOU ARE NOT DIFFERENT. With my program, together we can make sure that the bullies understand that they don’t have the right to make any us feel “different” for who we are, what we believe and what WE CAN’T CONTROL.

So please stand with me because we all have the right to be proud of who we are! For more information, please visit the S.A.B.B. homepage, our Facebook page or check out our YouTube video, which explains what the S.A.B.B. program is all about.

If you would like to make a further difference in terms of getting the message out there that bullying just will not be tolerated, then why not take part in the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome’s Bullies Back Down When We Stand Up Poster Contest? All the information you need is right here! The winning entry will play a big role in the 2012 Dare To Dream Student Leadership Conference in May. Check it out today!

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